Smaller Concept Stores in Retail – Is Bigger Really Better

Smaller sometimes is better. Smaller concept stores in retail are finding great success. Smaller stores have less overhead and more room for profit. Smaller stores have a different take on how to stock and display items in them, but smaller is better.

Smaller Concept Stores in Retail - Is Bigger Really BetterSmaller concept stores have space as a challenge. Space is at a premium and using it wisely is important. Being creative in how to keep adequate inventory is always challenging. Spend your time and efforts on amazing displays. Come up with display ideas that make sense in small spaces. They should be eye catching but not cluttered. One thing to consider is offering your customers the ability to order the products they want from you on site. They will get the chance to see and “play with” the items they are interested in, and then have it shipped to them overnight. It is a great way to keep inventory low in a small space.

Another idea for a smaller concept store that will positively affect your business is remembering to have excellent customer service. Show your customers that you care about their business. Do it by giving great service. Remember that the internet makes the world a small place and if you falter in service, everyone will know. Too many other retail competitors are out there and would be more than happy to come and take your customers. Don’t give them a reason to go elsewhere.

Make your small retail space the best place to go to get their needs met. Remember that you are saving money by utilizing a small space. Lower rent, lower utilities and lower staffing costs. Use some of those savings to do extra things for your customers. The old adage that you have to spend money to make it will come in handy here. Spending a little to give your customers extras will bring you more business.
The smaller concept stores are a good idea. Smaller is better, try it and see.

Retail Christmas Display Ideas Part Two

It’s October and time to plan your Christmas window displays. Here are some great ideas for your retail displays.

International Christmas window: This one will take a little bit of research, but find some great visual ideas of Christmas celebrations from different cultures around the world. Find ornaments or nativity scenes, representations of their ideas of Santa Claus and so forth. Try writing Merry Christmas in many different languages. Be creative and let the different themes make the window bright, colorful and interesting.

Retail Christmas Display Ideas Part TwoAdvertising: Use your own retail products and inventory to make a window of “gotta have it for Christmas items!” Place products on wrapped boxes and use them as tables to display gift ideas. Group things together that complement each other. Put a new tablet together with keyboards, cases and other accessories. Make sure to add signs that advertise store specials. Make them look like gift labels or write them in bright green or red. Add in things like a Christmas tree and bowls or baskets with Christmas ornaments.

Religious Display: Use this at your own risk and only if you know your customer base well. Obviously making a religious display for Christmas if you are in a predominantly Jewish or Muslim neighborhood wouldn’t be a good idea. But, if you’re going to do it about the birth of Christ, do it all the way. Another take on this could be covering all the holidays. Do Christmas in one part, Hanukkah in another, Kwanza in another. Covering your bases means playing it safe.

Children: The holidays are about children, no matter how old they are. Make your window reflect the spirit of the holiday by celebrating children. Use presents and snowmen, kids playing together. Use your imagination and make it special.

No matter how you decide to make your Christmas holiday window special, make it shine. Keep the spirit of the season in your heart and you can’t lose.

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Retail Store News – Are Big Box Stores Dead or Dying?

Having been in retail A LONG TIME, I have been around long enough to know that the demise of anything is probably a rumor, but why is the rumor about the death of big box stores so persistent?

Retail Store News - Are Big Box Stores Dead or Dying?First off, let’s start with a little history of big box stores. In 1962 Target, KMart and Wal-Mart all launched their first stores giving the new suburbanites a place to shop for all their needs in one place. During the boom times of the 1990′s and early 2000′s consumers became even more enamored of big box stores and conspicuous consumerism. They were using credit indiscriminately and were happy to cruise the aisles throwing items into their carts and stuffing their homes (and storage units) with “stuff”.

Then came the crash. The housing market bottomed out, investments tanked, and people stopped spending as much. So was this the death knell of big box stores? Not necessarily, but it did have an impact and slowed the relentless march of the superstore.

So what should we know about the change in big box…here are some great resources from around the web that we think are interesting…

Going smaller in big business – we are really interested in the concept of having smaller “stores” within the confines of a big box store. Target tried this with their “shops” concept that featured a handful of boutique stores inside the larger store. While they did not elect to continue the concept, it is an interesting idea that may have some future benefits.

Going smaller literally – Many of the big box stores are spawning smaller satellite stores. Wal-Mart is doing convenience stores, Best Buy has mobile stores and Petco has their Unleashed locations. This is definitely an interesting direction. According to the Motley Fool, both Target and Walmart are seeing increased profitability with the smaller store model.

Online spending and showrooming – One of the most interesting things we are tracking the idea of showrooming. While not great for smaller stores or single location operators, this can be a great boom for big box stores. Basically showrooming is when someone goes to a retail location to check out an item BEFORE heading home or to their smart phone to buy it online. It will be interesting to see if major retailers can use apps or geotargeted information to convert the people in the stores to online shoppers.

I do believe the demise of the big box stores has been heralded prematurely, but that there will have to be some changes in the coming years that will be fun to watch.

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Customer Demographics In The Retail Marketplace

Customer Demographics In The Retail MarketplaceCustomer demographics comprise many different aspects that separate our society into usable criteria in the retail marketplace. Knowing these demographics and how to use them to sell can mean the difference between making sales or struggling to break even.

What are important customer demographics in the retail marketplace?

Customer demographics include things like:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Income
  • Occupation
  • Geographic location
  • Language

So how do these demographics come into play in retail? Imagine you have a retail store that is full of TV monitors blaring out the latest boy band songs, pink fixtures and gum chewing, tattooed sales clerks. How comfortable do you think that a middle aged businessman would be in that environment (just ask the Dads who have to accompany their teen or tween daughters!)

How can you use these demographics to make the experience in your retail store better?

First, get a really good picture of your target customer. Are they young or old, hispanic or african american, well off or just starting out? Here is how you can start:

1. Are they a man or a woman? I know that you want to sell to anyone but generally you can figure out who your top purchasers are. Men and women shop very differently so it is vital to know! Men tend to do research online, hitting the store with a clear goal in mind and hesitant to ask questions so they need detailed signage that they can use to do final research. Women are more willing to ask sales clerks for help so less signage is needed but more staffing might be the rule of the day.

2. What is their average age? If you are staffing a technology store with all early 20-somethings and your regular customer is in their 40′s or 50′s, you may not be capturing all the sales that you should. Oftentimes retail stores are staffed by younger clerks, while the customers are older and more able to afford to make the purchases.

3. Race and language don’t always go together, but if they do, not having the correct floor staff can be sure sign of an upcoming store closing. It is hard to sell something if you cannot communicate with the customer. Waving your arms and talking louder will not help them make a buying decision, but having someone familiar with your customers native tongue will. We have seen stores located in a predominately Hispanic community that do not have even one Spanish speaker to talk with customers who don’t speak English.

Second, get laser focused on how to make your customers comfortable in your location  Take a couple of weeks and note down the characteristics of the people in your store. Bonus points if you offer a discount coupon, gift certificate or free offer to customers who will fill out a brief questionnaire (no more than 5 easy questions!)

Think about what your ideal customer looks, sounds and acts like. Figure out what kind of staffing, signage and displays you need to appeal to your best customers.

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Time Management Tips for Retail

Management Tips for RetailTime management is the order of the day. Time management tips can be implemented when retail business is slow and now that the busy-ness of the holidays has passed it’s time to use the slower days of January to your advantage. Time is always at a premium and now that the pace has slowed a bit, it’s time to learn how to manage that time better, and set some best practices for the new year.

January is a slower time of the year. People have done all their buying over the holidays. January is also the start of the new tax year. Starting the year off fresh, means knowing what you have on hand. That means inventory. For tax reasons, retail stores should be doing merchandise and fixture inventories several times a year. The slow days in the beginning of January are the perfect time to do the counting. Once everything is counted, you will know what you need to put on sale to move out, and what needs replenishing.

January is also a good time to do a thorough cleaning of your retail store. The surface cleaning done during the working hours won’t remove the built up stains, dust and crud that the busy times keep you from giving attention. As you do your inventory, clean. Move stock off of shelves and clean. Move items in the back room storage and clean.

Have a service come in and deep clean carpets, or have staff do it after hours. Having a neat, clean and well organized store is something that your customers expect. Lack of cleanliness will make customers turn around and leave. Using the time you have now is good management of your time.

Another good use of down time is training. To manage time effectively, you still want to have your staff in the store, so finding a training company to do training on the fly is an important way to do it. Retail Business Development is that company.

RBD has Assistant and Campus to keep your sales people trained and on the sales floor. It tracks and trains as they sell. Assistant tracks their progress in real time, giving them a step by step guide. It’s perfect for performance tracking and suggested training. It then uses Campus to deliver the training.


Retailing Cloud Based Retail Solutions
Cloud Based Retail Solutions
RBD Retail 3.0 Solutions are a set of enterprise, cloud-based solutions for the mobile workforce that delivers powerful ERP, CRM, HRM, eLearning and Reporting modules to sales associates in the field, executives, management and back-office personnel. Find out more about our Retailing 3.0 business solutions

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Major Retailers Taking Advantage of the Small Store Concept by Developing Satellite Stores | Retail Operations

The trend in retail operations these days seems to be “smaller is better” which means it should come as no surprise that larger retailers are opening smaller venues. There are several reasons for this and all will mean positive outcomes for both the retailer and the community.

Major Retailers Taking Advantage of the Small Store Concept by Developing Satellite Stores | Retail OperationsWe’ve all seen the WalMart or Target super centers go up in suburban America. Sprawling megastores that sell everything from Arrugala to Zoo toys, and wonder if they are really necessary. Convenient? Yes, but necessary?

Well with the outcry for healthier food alternatives in urban areas, many “super stores” are downsizing and offering fresh food alternatives to fill the niche. In the 1970’s most large grocery store chains left urban areas. The suburbs gave them cheaper land alternatives and areas for parking. The large retailers of our era have found the same thing, leaving a big market wide open that has stayed unfilled for decades.


Retailing Cloud Based Retail Solutions
Cloud Based Retail Solutions
RBD Retail 3.0 Solutions are a set of enterprise, cloud-based solutions for the mobile workforce that delivers powerful ERP, CRM, HRM, eLearning and Reporting modules to sales associates in the field, executives, management and back-office personnel. Find out more about our Retailing 3.0 business solutions



Chain pharmacy retailers started slowly filling the void with inner city locations, but really only served a “convenience store” need. When larger retailers like WalMart and Target tried moving super centers into the inner city, they found that land and space in inner city areas was at a premium, and the prices to be paid for it were also premium.

In answer, they are now downsizing their stores and finding properties now that while smaller, will house their smaller, but healthier new trend. Other grocery retailers like Supervalu and Save-A-Lot target lower income neighborhoods where there is a lack of competition, and a definite need. While these already entrenched competitors will have some advantage, retailers like WalMart and Target also have established lines of non-food items and lower prices that will complement, rather than compete. Being able to move into these new markets will be a win/win for both the retailers and the communities they will serve.

Smaller stores seem to be the new trend in retail. With megastores such as WalMart and Target having taken advantage of the space that a location in the suburbs has given them in the past, now there is more of a market for smaller stores in urban areas.

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Why Big Box Stores Have POS Representatives

POS Representatives in Retail Stores, what are they and why should you be aware of their effectiveness in driving new traffic?

You’ve seen them for years in the grocery stores like Costco’s and Sam’s Club, people who are at the end of aisles, serving samples of a new product, offering information and advice about it, as you shop. For the most part, they don’t work for the store but they definitely help with sales for the store. So it would make sense that the “Big Box” stores would do the same thing. Here are a few reasons why they jumped on the bandwagon of POS Representatives.

Why Big Box Stores Have POS Representatives

The first, and most obvious, is if the POS representative works for someone else, the big box store doesn’t have to pay them directly. No wages, no employment taxes, no benefits. The rep is paid by their company in whatever format or agreement they may have. At the most, the big box may have to pay the company directly for having the rep come in, but that would be a contractual thing handled differently from an expense perspective. It’s a big win in that department for the big box because employment expenses can be a large item on the profit and loss statement and balance sheet for even a part time employee.



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The POS representative is there to talk about a product that is already on the big box store’s shelves.That is a big win because it spurs impulse buys by customers, making their actual purchase larger than they planned.

Another plus from the customer’s point of view is that POS representatives are independent from the big box store. They will have more specific knowledge about the product. The rep would have been trained by the company who makes the product and can answer most questions on the spot. This means that the customer isn’t getting the run around from the store employees who may not be, or probably are not qualified to answer. It gives the product, the rep and the store credibility. Credibility will turn into higher sales as the customer comes to know, like and trust the Big Box store on a person-to-person level.

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